Divorce is a stressful and emotional time for children. Here is a list of things you can do to help them cope.
What you can do for your child:
- Encourage your child to spend time with the other parent and be as amicable as you can with the other parent to coordinate visit times.
- Provide structure and routine. Again, as this is a confusing time, it is important to provide your child with as much routine as possible.
- Allow your child to express his thoughts and feelings to you. It is important to validate his feelings rather than trying to challenge him.
- Allow her to ask questions. If she asks something that may be inappropriate for her to know, tell her that is adult business.
- Spend quality time with your children. Allow them to pick some activities and just be in the moment with them.
What to avoid:
- Do not put your child in the middle. You should never force your child to choose a side.
- Do not discuss adult issues with your child. Never discuss the proceedings or show documents to your child.
- Do not speak badly about the other parent. Remember, your child identifies as being half of mom and half of dad, so speaking poorly of the other parent sends the message that he is “half bad”. This may also lead to the child acting out toward the parent or to you.
- Do not “pump your child for information” about her visit with the other parent. You may simply ask, “Did you have a good visit?” If she wants to talk about it, she will.
- Do not tell your child how he should or should not feel. This can be a confusing time and he will have a lot of emotions. This is normal.
Most important: let your children know how much they are loved. Even though their parents will no longer be together, you still love your children as much as ever. And you are there for them, always.